The Camp Follower recounts the life of the author John Reilly Taylor, who grew up in the aftermath of World War II as the son of a US Army Officer. In his travels, he witnessed the reconstruction effort in post-war Europe, and the US support of pre-war South Vietnam. His father retained his position as a US Army officer after the war, and was assigned several assignments including SHAPE which became NATO. These assignments required that the family relocate to countries all over Europe. John shares his adventures travelling around Europe, as well as later when his father was assigned to Viet Nam. During that period, he travelled throughout Asia by himself in his teenage years. John's experiences through his adolescence were spent in strange environments far from home, lands harrowed by the aftermath of the most horrendous war in history. In his last assignment before retirement, his father became the Comptroller for the US Military assistance group in South Vietnam. This is the background for John Reilly Taylor's youth, in which he chronicles his autobiography, The Camp Follower. During the Second World War, approximately 71 million people died on all sides of the conflict, entire cities were flattened, their populaces decimated and dispossessed. Taylor grew up in this environment, as the child of a US military officer; he bore witness of the reconstruction efforts in postwar Europe as his father was posted in NATO bases across the continent. He would also see firsthand America's support of the South Vietnamese government before the Southeast Asian region was plunged in war once more. His youth was a pseudo-nomadic one, as he hopped from city to city, continent to continent. He would continue this pattern in his adulthood, becoming a Comptroller for the US military assistance group in South Vietnam. It would be no exaggeration to say that his life was one of adventure, a firsthand account of exotic locales from a seasoned traveler who began journeying at an early age. Taylor was able to travel throughout Asia by himself in his teens, in a time before backpacking became fashionable, before the age of satellite phones, GPS and the internet. The Camp Follower is a sophisticated book that recounts the experience of a traveler, the sights of the European reconstruction, and the affairs of a military family sent overseas due to a father's duty to his nation. Those seeking not only to venture into another place, but also another time, will find Taylor's true story to be an engaging reading experience full of insights into issues that would shape the modern world.
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